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The Spotsylvania Campaign$
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Gary W. Gallagher

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780807824023

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898376_gallagher

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The Federal High Command at Spotsylvania

The Federal High Command at Spotsylvania

Chapter:
(p.29) The Federal High Command at Spotsylvania
Source:
The Spotsylvania Campaign
Author(s):

William D. Matter

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807898376_gallagher.6

This chapter focuses on the Federal high command, considering some of the difficulties that grew out of an awkward arrangement by which Ambrose E. Burnside—who headed the Ninth Corps and held rank senior to Army of the Potomac commander George G. Meade—received orders directly from Grant. It considers the tensions between Meade and Cavalry Corps chief Philip H. Sheridan; a below par performance by Winfield Scott Hancock; and Horatio G. Wright's difficult initiation into Sixth Corps leadership after John Sedgwick was killed on May 9. Throughout the middle of May, Grant assumed increasing control of Federal tactical decisions, relegating Meade and Burnside to decidedly secondary roles. Grant steadfastly retained the initiative as he continued his army's southward movement after Spotsylvania, but confusion, poor decisions, and lost opportunities plagued Union leadership at Spotsylvania.

Keywords:   Civil War, military campaigns, Ulysses S. Grant, Union leadership, Ambrose E. Burnside, Philip H. Sheridan, George G. Meade, Winfield Scott Hancock, Horatio G. Wright

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